UN says Libyan sides sign countrywide cease-fire deal

The head of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces delegation A. Amhimmid Mohamed Alamami (L) and head of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) military delegation Ahmed Ali Abushahma shake hands next to deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs in Libya Stephanie Williams. (AFP)
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Updated 23 October 2020

UN says Libyan sides sign countrywide cease-fire deal

  • Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east
  • Libya’s prized light crude has long featured in the country’s civil war, with rival militias and foreign powers jostling for control of Africa’s largest oil reserves

GENEVA: The United Nations said Friday that the two sides in Libyan military talks had reached a “historic achievement” with a permanent cease-fire agreement across the war-torn North African country.
After mediation this week led by UN envoy for Libya Stephanie Turco Williams, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the UN called an “important turning point toward peace and stability in Libya.”
Details were not immediately available, but the two sides were taking part in a signing ceremony in Geneva on Friday morning.
Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east. The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers. The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
“The road to a permanent cease-fire deal was often long and difficult,” Williams, a former US State Department official, said in Arabic at the signing ceremony.
“Before us is a lot of work in the coming days and weeks in order to implement the commitments of the agreement,” she said. “It is essential to continue work as quickly as possible in order to alleviate the many problems due to this conflict facing the Libyan people.”
“We have to give people hope of a better future,” Williams added. She expressed hope the agreement will succeed “in ending the suffering of Libyans and allowing those displaced by the conflict to return to their homes.”
Ali Abushahma, the head of the delegation and a field commander for the UN-supported administration in Tripoli, said: “We have had enough suffering, enough bloodshed ... We hope we will change the suffering on all the territories of Libya, especially in the south.”
“I appeal to all Libya: Be one hand,” he said, warning about polarization by factions.
The meetings this week mark the fourth round of talks involving the Joint Military Commission under Williams’ watch. The Geneva-based military talks come ahead of a political forum in Tunisia in November. That forum aims to “generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to the holding of national elections,” the UN mission said.
On Wednesday, Williams had said the two warring factions agreed on issues that “directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people,” citing agreements to open air and land routes in the country, to work to ease inflammatory rhetoric in Libyan media, and to help kickstart Libya’s vital oil industry.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry welcomed the ceasefire deal and said that it hoped the agreement would pave the way for security and stability in Libya. 
Libya’s prized light crude has long featured in the country’s civil war, with rival militias and foreign powers jostling for control of Africa’s largest oil reserves.
Last month, the two sides reached preliminary agreements to exchange prisoners and open up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory. This breakthrough also accompanied the resumption of oil production after a months-long blockade by powerful tribes allied with military commander Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the eastern-based forces.
Haftar’s forces launched an offensive in April 2019 to try and capture Tripoli, the seat of the UN-supported government in the west. But his campaign collapsed in June.
Fighting has since died down amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to Libya’s major oil export terminals.


Turkey orders detention of 82 military personnel over suspected Gulen links -Anadolu

Updated 17 min 56 sec ago

Turkey orders detention of 82 military personnel over suspected Gulen links -Anadolu

ISTANBUL: Turkey ordered the detention of 82 military personnel in an operation targeting supporters of the Muslim preacher who Ankara says was behind a failed coup in 2016, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.
Operations targeting the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen have continued under a four-year-long crackdown since the attempted coup in July 2016. Gulen denies involvement in the putsch attempt, in which some 250 people were killed.
Tuesday’s operation was spread over 39 provinces and 63 people have already been detained, Anadolu said. Of the suspects, 70 were on active duty.
The detentions were ordered by the chief prosecutor in the western coastal province of Izmir, Anadolu said, adding that it also took steps to sack 848 military personnel, including high ranking officers, over links to the network.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military alone.
Last week, a Turkish court sentenced leaders of the attempted coup to life in jail, convicting hundreds of army officers, pilots and civilians over the failed bid to topple President Tayyip Erdogan.